Publisher: UK - Headline Review
Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm or preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
I’ve been pondering how to review American Gods for a while…there is so much to say and yet most of it has been said already by reviewer far more worthy and cleverer than little old me. But at the same time I couldn’t not review it. It is a weighty tome and it’s story is equally as weighty, but as soon as I started reading I felt drawn in as the world was built around me. The reading was like watching the baking of a tiered wedding cake from the inside - complete with measuring, adding a touch of this and an ounce of that, stirring, watching the mixture rise and then adding frosting to the outside.
Shadow, just released from prison is seeing the world for the first time in three years as we see it anew through him. He has no-one to hold him down so he accepts the offer of a job from the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and gets swept up in a world where gods can be con artists and leprechauns can be six-foot tall. The writing is smooth and atmospheric with vivid pictures that stay in your mind long after the pages are shut. I was rooting for Shadow throughout even if half the time I didn’t have any more idea what was going on than he did! There was some hypnotic to the writing and plot that drew me deeper and deeper.
American Gods is ultimately a story about stories. Some tales are on gods, folk lore, myths and legends. There is mystery story, a romance, a supernatural, a war story and of course a road trip. It is a tale of big cities and small town; a story about society and a personal growth; a story about the weather; a philosophical tale and an action adventure; a story of America and the age old tale of new verses old. I don’t think this will be for everyone tastes but if you have some time to spare and want a leisurely stroll around the role of gods in modern America there are much worse ways to spend a few hours. It will be a book that will sit on my shelves for a long time to come.